Oct 8, 2021

Review--Conceal, Don't Feel by Jen Calonita


As the future Queen of Arendelle, Princess Elsa’s life is full of expectation and responsibility―not to mention, questions. What type of ruler will she be? When will she have to pick a suitor? And why has she always harbored the feeling that some critical piece of herself is missing?

Following the unexpected death of her parents, Elsa is forced to answer those questions sooner than she’d hoped, becoming the sole ruler of her kingdom and growing lonelier than ever. But when mysterious powers begin to reveal themselves, Elsa starts to remember fragments of her childhood that seem to have been erased―pieces that include a very familiar-looking girl. Determined to fill the void she has always felt, Elsa must take a harrowing journey across her icy kingdom to undo a terrible curse...and find the missing Princess of Arendelle. 



I decided to dive into another Disney Twisted Tale and chose Conceal, Don't Feel by Jen Calonita! It was a cute and endearing read that flowed a lot like the movie in some ways, but with a few differences and obviously the big twist the book proposes. What would have happened if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? That they were forced to be separated for their safety as children and grew up with no memories of the other. Well, that's exactly what we're about to find out in this new and exciting tale!

We open the story with a teenage Elsa being groomed by her parents to one day take over the kingdom. She's a lonely girl, she longs for a friend who understands her, but alas, it's hard for a princess to find a friend. Then tragedy strikes, while her parents were forced to go away, their ship was deemed lost at sea and in Elsa's grief, she discovers that she has magical icy powers.

Meanwhile, in a village not too far away, lives Anna. Anna is a happy girl living with her adoptive parents and working in the family bakery. She's always longed to leave home and see the world. She couldn't help but feel like something was calling to her far away, or not so far away, but her parents have always asked her to wait until she was older.

When the day comes for Elsa's coronation, she is worried her icy powers will be beyond her control. Even with her pen pal, Prince Hans there, she is still uneasy. Her other friend, Olaf, who magically appeared when her powers did, tries to tell her she's as ready as she can be. But just before she is to leave for the ceremony, she finds a letter from her parents hidden among her things, one that tells her she has a sister named Anna.

Can we just say whoa?! This book blew past my expectations for the story and held me riveted. I mean, Elsa is FRIENDS with HANS!! What the what?! We do get one brief chapter from Hans' point of view, to know that his agenda from the movie hasn't changed and he's still the same guy. I can still remember being totally derailed from that betrayal when Disney revealed it! I mean, has there ever been a betrayal like THAT before in Disney history? I still can't quite think of one in that nature.

But when Elsa runs off before attending her own coronation, she's determined to find her sister. But as we already know, has created a dangerously icy place in Arendelle...in the middle of summer. Anna with the help of her newfound friend, Kristoff, wants to head to the palace to see about helping the Princess, as she is feeling that calling reach out to her. 

It's kind of amazing how much this book played out like the movie, albeit in a different sequence of events. But quite a lot was the same, in little increments here and there. Yes, there were still differences that helped the story along what with the big WHAT IF twist.

I also like to point out that this book published a month before the sequel. So though we know there's a whole other backstory to Elsa and her powers, we're pretty much rolling with just the first movie as fact here. Nothing about Iduna's real history was explored, in fact, you could say she has an alternate one in here, if you read the B&N exclusive chapter edition.

All the best moments of Frozen were perfectly captured in this book! True, Anna isn't falling madly in love with Prince Hans at first sight, thank goodness. There's the cute relationship that develops between her and Kristoff. And Olaf and Sven are as funny as ever!

This was yet another delightful Twisted Tale in the Disney Family. I love reading these books to see what would happen to a story if one thing were changed, or as some of the other books go, something that might happen after the fact--thinking of the Hercules book for that one! This is definitely a series I would recommend all Disney fans checking out. Each book has been delightfully entertaining by exploring new territory for Disney films, and yet still keeping the most classic moments alive in the story as well.

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars


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